Recent Events

Saturday 31 March 2018

The Death Chamber at Waterstones

On Tuesday 17th April
at 19.30 at Waterstones in Brighton

Lesley Thomson

will be launching her latest novel in the The Detective’s Daughter series

The Death Chamber

Two fellow crime writers will also be talking about their latest books

  Elly Griffiths

the tenth novel in her best-selling Ruth Galloway series 

The Dark Angel


William Shaw

will be launching a spin off from The Birdwatcher.

Salt Lane

As last year the three authors will introduce each other's novels and take questions from the audience.
They will also be signing copies of their books.

‘Memento Mori’ by Ruth Downie

Published by Bloomsbury,
6 March 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-62040-961-9 (HB)

There are often useful life lessons lurking in fiction, and I unearthed two not far below the surface of the eighth in Ruth Downie's delicious Ruso series: one, your best mate is still your best mate even when he's accused of killing his wife and you're not too sure he didn't; and two, empires may come and go, but people don't change much.

If you've already discovered the adventures of Gaius Petreius Ruso, formerly doctor to the Roman occupying army and occasional solver of crimes, you don't need me to tell you that as well as offering pearls of wisdom like this,  they bring Roman Britain to life in a way which makes you believe that's how it really was, and fill the country with characters who are often quirky, sometimes larger than life and always real and engaging.

This time Ruso's detective skills take precedence over his medical knowledge when his friend Valens, still a doctor and now a fugitive from what passes for justice in the Roman Empire, is accused of murdering his young wife Serena, who happens to be the daughter of Pertinax, a retired centurion who has cause to be grateful to Ruso for saving his life, but somehow seems to ignore that fact. Confused yet? So was I, in the best tradition of mystery fiction, especially when Tilla, Ruso's British wife, who is far too outspoken and independent for Pertinax's comfort, got involved in her husband's attempts to sort everything out.  

Ruso, Tilla, their tiny adopted daughter and a couple of slaves leave their northern home and head for Aqua Sulis (modern-day Bath) where Serena's body has been found floating in a sacred pool. In  Downie's customary witty, colourful and well-observed style, they each use their individual skills to unpick various aspects of the mystery, not always (I'm tempted to say not at all!) in a co-ordinated way, and thread their way through veteran soldiers, security guards, priests, fierce Britons and the machinations of Valens himself to arrive at the truth of the matter.

To dedicated fans, of whom I'm unashamedly one, a new Ruso novel is always a treat worth waiting for; to newcomers to the series, Memento Mori is as good a place as any to get started – though be warned, you'll want to go out in search of the earlier seven volumes the moment you've finished this one. Me, I can't wait for the next.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Ruth (RS) Downie left university with an English degree and a plan to get married and live happily ever after. She is still working on it. In the meantime, she is also the New York Times bestselling author of a mystery series featuring Roman doctor Gaius Petreius Ruso. Ruth is not the RS Downie who writes real medical textbooks. Absolutely none of the medical advice in the Ruso books should be followed. Roman and Greek doctors were very wise about many things, but they were also known to prescribe donkey dung and boiled cockroaches.  Memento Mori is the eighth book in the series.
Find out more at

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

Friday 30 March 2018

‘Seventeen’ by Hideo Yokoyama

Published by Riverrun,
8 February 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-78648-460-4

When an air disaster of unprecedented scale occurs in the North Kanto Times area, veteran reporter Yuuki and his team are galvanised into activity. Seventeen years on, Yuuki looks back at that feverish time which changed his life.

As he explains in the foreward, this intense novel uses Yokoyama’s own experience as a journalist investigating this real-life crash. We’re taken behind the scenes as the journalists make decisions about headlines, and agonise over using what could be a major scoop, if their informant is reliable. Yuuki’s intense involvement with his job, and his fatherless childhood, mean he has difficulty relating to his family, particularly his son, Jun. However, also seventeen years ago, his climbing friend Anzai was injured in an unexplained accident, and Yuuki has become closer to his own son through his easier relationship with Anzai’s son, Rintaro.

 In the present day sections, Yuuki and Rintaro are climbing the peak of Tsuitate together. The in-depth protrayal of a Japanese newsroom is fascinating, and Yuuki’s journey through his past absorbing, but it’s hard to call this a crime novel. The secondary storyline of Anzai’s accident is slight, and although the later stages of the novel reflect on the difference between ‘big lives’, which demand news coverages, and equally important ‘little lives’ which get only a paragraph, and on the culpability of JAL, there’s no over-riding criminal storyline.

An absorbing character-driven novel set in a Japanese newsroom at a time of a real-life air disaster.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Hideo Yokoyama was born in 1957. He worked for twelve years as an investigative reporter with a regional newspaper north of Tokyo, before becoming one of Japan's most acclaimed fiction writers. His first novel to be translated into the English language, Six Four, was a Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and paperback, became the first Japanese novel to be shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger, was named in the Crime and Thrillers of 2016 roundups in each of the Guardian, Telegraph, Financial Times and Glasgow Herald, and has since been translated into thirteen languages worldwide.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

Click on the title to read a review of her recent book Death in Shetland Waters